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tv   ABC 7 Morning News  ABC  April 17, 2011 5:00am-6:00am PDT

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>> in the news a jet neutral leak forces the evacuation of hundreds of passengers from a plane. and police investigate a shooting outside a popular restaurant. good morning. temperatures in the low to mid-50s. downtown we have some clouds around. we will look for a little rain coming our way. news is next. >> thank you, lisa. good morning, everyone. thanks for joining us. i'm carolyn tyler. a flight is ground at sfo this morning after it began leaking fuel just before it's scheduled departure last night. the flight was asian bound with 350 passengers onboard. they were unable to immediately stem the flow of fuel and passengers were asked to get off and go back into the terminal.
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it took about 45 minutes to stop the leak. there's no word yet whether the flight will be able it leave today or its passengers will have to wait for another plane to be flown into san francisco. the federal aviation administration plans to rework schedules for air-traffic controllers so no one else fall a sleep on the job. in the last month seven have nodded off, raising questions about air travel safety. we went to san francisco international airport for some local perspective. >> there are about 4,000 aircraft in the skies over the u.s. at any given time, according to the faa. air-traffic controllers keep the planes from flying into each other and assuring they land safely. news another flight controller was asleep at the job, concerns many concerns. >> i think that flying is totally safe, but it's the weary, and i guess it comes down
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to whether they are overworked and getting enough breaks. >> it would definitely make me feel more unsafe knowing that people are controlling the err sleeping while they are supposed to be controlling the air. >> the faa confirms that 7 air-traffic controllers have fallen asleep on the job in the last month. paul is the president of the air-traffic controllers association. >> we have a fatigue issue. we have a high stress occupation that works around the clock, 24 hours, 7 days a week. >> today the faa started adjusting schedules. they said the controllers have managed to safely operate within their difficult schedules for years. >> the working controllers on a night shift for three weeks and then they go to day shift for three weeks and then they go to swing shift for three weeks. some of that overlap boils down to sleep deprivation.
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>> they said it can affect their acts the same way alcohol affects drivers. they said we are taking important steps that will that are making a real difference in fighting air-traffic controller fatigue but we know we need to do more. this is just the beginning. >> where only one is on duty in a tower at night, another will be added as a backup. they said there's any need to fear the skies. >> i don't consider them unsafe because pilots are aware of this, they train for it obviously. >> the faa might also letting controllers nap during their breaks, which is now a firing offense. >> on monday the head of the faa and air-traffic controllers association will be traveling nationwide to visit controllers throughout the country. they will be talking to them about performance and safety. >> at sfo, kgo news. >> this morning police are investigating a shooting that occurred in the parking lot of a restaurant last night.
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the victim was taken to eden hospital in castro valley where he was underknowing surgery this morning for multiple gunshot wounds were they said the person was eating dinner his restaurant and left to go to his car and was attacked in what may have been a robbery attempt. when they arrived they found the man in the parking lot outside chili's restaurant. >> he had been outside not parking lot shortly after exiting. he was assaulted by the a sale plant, and an altercation took place and he was shot several times. the san francisco medical examiner is working to identify a body floating in there 3 feet of water near san francisco's for the funston. that body was recovered yesterday morning. authorities have been missing for a missing boater since last weekend. that 52-year-old man disappeared in the surf off ocean beach after his boat cap sized.
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a second man was rescued in the incident. new developments in the case of a serial killer. 77-year-old joseph is alleged to have killed four women between 1977 and 1994. they said he lived in an apartment building in this street back in 1981. they say he filled three notebooks describing how he wanted to torture 23-year-old margaret prisco who lived downstairs with her husband. according to investigators, he also kept a to do list of women he wanted to kill. prisco was number ten in the list. she moved away in 1982 and said she and her husband called him crazy joe. he is due back in court in two weeks. sky divers in southern california have honored two of their own with a memorial jump. yesterday they linked always and legs to form the names of an instructor who was killed during a jump. they also released his ashes
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into the air. he collided with another instructor over paris valley airport in march. both men died when their parachutes collapsed. this ash dive came a day of a another accident killed another sky driver and injured another. it was the third in three months. a police officer is under investigation for trying to take away a man's cellphone and putting him in handcuffs for refuse to go hand it over. the man just used the phone to robbed video of police arresting some young people in front of his home. abc7s laura anthony has more on the civil rights dispute. lanel du chien said he and a friend were working in the garage of a home when they heard silence. >> we noticed that the police officers were getting some juveniles out at gunpoint.
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>> du chien turned his cellphone camera toward several police officers ordering four young people out of a white car. >> the police. make sure they don't shoot anybody. >> keep your hands up. >> from the right of the frame, a police officer demands his phone. >> the officer drove up and basically said he was taking my phone for evidence. and i'm like, why? >> rather than give it to the officer, du chien handed the phone to the friend, who took it into the house. the officer then put du chien in handcuffs. >> i don't think that he had probable cause to arrest me, but he did. >> du chien was cited for interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duties and released. he never did give police his phone. but he did post the video on youtube. >> this is wrong on so many different levels. there's an egregious violation
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of the fourth amendment here. there is certainly first amendment implications. and there is a common misconception among police officers. >> the police spokesman cold abc7 on the surface of things we do have some concerns about what we saw. we are currently conducting an internal inquiry into the incident. we are prepared to take appropriate or correct i have action, ifs in. >> i will take the money because it can be evidence. >> as a citizen, a law-abiding citizen, i'm a notary, i'm a mental health administrator, and i feel like that i was very much violated. >> now, the police told me it's unlikely they will actually formally file any charges against du chien. as for that police action here on the street on saturday afternoon, turns out that those young people the police stopped were not the robbery suspects they were looking for. they, too, were released.
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laura anthony, abc7 news. >> it's going to take longer than first thought to get japan's nuclear power plant under control. more on how long it will take. >> and five years since san francisco's great earthquake. how the last remaining survivor, one of the last, plans to mark [ female announcer ] why settle for plain bread when you can have pillsbury grands! flaky layers biscuits? the warm, light delicate layers are like nothing else. add a layer of excitement to your next meal. ♪ with cinnabon cinnamon have such a sweet and delicious aroma that my family can't wait to get their hands on them.
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spiked to 600 times the legal limit. officials say this could mean there are new leaks at that site. >> there was a special moment in japan town's peace plaza yes. a 300-foot flag was unfurled and photographed from the sky to raise money and awareness for relief efforts in japan. organizers hope to inspire other cities around the world to raise the flag at five events. >> in 1906 the biggest catastrophy happened in san francisco and japan was the biggest country that donated more money than any other nation. >> the event was held in conjunction with the ongoing cherry blossom festival. they hope to raise $100,000 for earthquake relief. they are also holding a is 11,000 a plate dinner in san francisco. -- a $1,000 a plate dinner. and there was a 1906
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earthquake. the anniversary is remembered. there will be a series of activities early tomorrow morning starting with the laying of a relief at lata fountain at 5:00 a.m. that's where messages and information were relayed to survivors. today the last he of three no one survivors will speak at a luncheon. he is 105 years old. can you imagine? >> my grandmother was 105 when she died so i can imagine it. it's pretty cool. we are looking at cereal weather because the clouds are with us. that means slower cooling. there is a cold front on the way. you may have heard about it. that will bring rain. i will detail the forecast next. >> thank you, lisa. also ahead, tornadoes and severe
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thunderstorms continue a path of death and destruction. we will show you the new damage this morning in north carolina.
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at least 25 people are dead in six states as killer storms continue a rampage that began in the midwest on thursday, moved through the deep south, and then into the carolinas this weekend. that's where a store manager is being credited with saving the lives of 100 workers by rushing them to the back of the store ahead of a tornado. this is what is left of the hardware store in north carolina. so far the deadly storms with multiple tornadoes have claimed the lives of a number of people. >> it was right beside the house, and it did, went right beside our house. >> the clouds were sucking things in. >> i started seeing the outside of the clouds with the turning and everything on it. yes, sir. >> this morning thousands are people are out of electricity due to fallen trees and downed power lines.
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it will take days to restore power in devastated neighbors. they spent to find more bodies as they search through the debris. right now the death toll stands at 35. when you see that, it's sad. >> very sad. we have a weak system on the way, and in fact more than one system for the week ahead. >> and welcome back for you. it's been a couple weeks. >> yeah. a little shift in our schedules. but we are looking still at the on shore flow. we had that yesterday. the deal yesterday, we cleared pretty soon. sun, this morning 6:32. setting at 7:47. i don't think we will clear as early today. golden gate bridge, boy, is that quiet out there. we will be looking at the fog to hang around the shoreline. temperatures this morning, we are a little bit warmer out there. 54 in fremont, 57 mount view. that's due to the cloud cover. 52 in santa rosa. so we will look at a partly to mostly cloudy day today and that's due to the low clouds. slower clearing. a cold front bringing in the
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high and mid-level clouds. and the the rain arriving tonight. it will linger throughout the day tomorrow. so if you are planning your week, stay tuned to the seven-day forecast. so we looked at this setup for the past several days with the clouds around crescent city. we don't have the mechanism to bring us any showers yet, but there is one on the way. we will be looking at the rain moving on in tonight and tomorrow. it's a weak system, anywhere from a tenth to a quarter of an inch of rain, but it will last and right on through tomorrow afternoon, bringing the temperatures down as much as ten degrees in some spots. statewide the numbers coming down in the southland. 90s yesterday in los angeles, 80s today, still hot in palm springs, 95. and partly cloudy skies from sacramento. 70s there. we will look at the ridge of high pressure that brought us
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the dry day yesterday to begin to weakened to. by 8:00 tonight you can see the returns on our computer animation showing some rain headed toward sonoma county and the peninsula. the overnight hours the light shower activity continues. here we're 9:00 tomorrow morning. you notice showers from santa rose you a concord and san jose. this takes us through 3:00 tomorrow and mr. shower activity along the shoreline here. we will look for numbers coming down. more clouds around and cooler air behind the front. today partly cloudy in the south bay. 57 santa clara. a lot of 70s yesterday. cooler today. peninsula, mid-60s san mateo. and san francisco coming up in a couple degrees cooler at 63. in the north bay look for highs ranging from 66 to 68. and we will call it mostly cloudy here with 57 in oakland and out over the hills. 72 in danville.
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still a few 70s with more clouds around throughout the early morning hours and then down by the monterey bay, 69. temperatures here taking the hit with the stronger on shore flow. not as warm as yesterday. light rain moves in late tonight. light scattered showers. we could see them as far south as monterey. and notice more showers midweek and the temperatures just in the 60s. so really can't decide if we are going to stay warm or cool. looks like more on the cool side for the week. >> but we aren't done with the rain? >> no. >> all right. thank you, lisa. let's check out sports. the sharks head to l.a. next for the third game of their series against the kings. mike shumann said it was king high at the shark tank last night. good morning. the sharks got a weakup call in game two of their series with l.a. as the kings steal within at the tank to even the series at 3 a piece. you have to hold at home. the first period the sharks struggled. the power play continues.
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the wristed shot inside the blue line. nieminen is screened by the net. if you can see it, you can't stop it. another play. this time drew dowdy finds the back of the 2009, 2-0, kings. dowdy wasn't done. from well outside he smoked one past nieminen. kings up 3-0. sharks could not solve jason quick. he zone walls jason demears, and then joe thornton is denied with the save. sharks go down 4-0. series tied. >> i'm disappointed in our team. i think when you look at the game per se, it's hard to find two or three guys that really competed at the level that they needed to. >> we had one of their top centerman out at home. yeah, it's a missed opportunity, that's for sure. >> there's nothing, you know, to cry about. we have to go out and we have to win a game in l.a. and that's our focus. we have two days to think about
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this and be ready for tuesday night's game. >> the giants are finally starting to play by world champions. they are back in the desert to face azubuike. buster posey continuing his shot start to the season. the top first, a man on and facing joe saunders, see ya. two-run shot to left, second jack of the season. 2-0, g men. and off barry zito, it was ripped down the right-field line. game tied at 2. later in the frame, saunders pops up the bunt. watch barry zito. he awkwardly makes the catch but he sprains his right foot. he will leave the game. in came moto and he was clutch. struck out four. then in the seventh game tied at three and freddy sanchez coming up with a clutch two-out, two-out single into left. a 3 rbi night for sanchez and the giants win, 5-3, the final. >> and of in oakland they are
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trying to snap a skid against the tigers. gets ryan swinging. one of his five ks. ask josh willingham gets it down the left-field line. that scores. next batter, the double ripped to right. willingham scores. all good in oakland except braden leaving after five innings with left shoulder stiffness. that's troublesome, but the a's go on to win it 6-2. nabokov playoffs in full swing. of course, the finals right here on abc7. we tipoff in the west with an intriguing match-up between the mavericks and the the blazers. fourth quarter, auld dredge with a pretty hook. blazers down 77-76. mavs up 4. now under a minute to play. shot clock winding down. former cal star jason kidd burriss his 6 trey of the game.
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the mavs pull away for 89-81 victory. >> and the east, magic hosting the hawks. orlando center dwight howard went off. the alley oop dunk. 46 points, 19 boards, magic up two but the magic owned the night. the one hand thunder, hawks up 13. and jamal crawford for three. he had 23. hawks take a 1-1 series lead with a ten point victory. the 50-yard indoor war is back. the saber cats have arena's best offense. saber cats in tulsa looking to improve to 4-2 on the season. second quarter san jose down 14. but the joe montana of arena football, mark grief, a strike and the saber cats within seven. and to good son this time. the third touchdown hookup of the night. the saber cats complete it with the victory. and the earthquake a 3-30 loser
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to the red bulls -- 3-0 loser to the red bulls. giants fan and beating victim bryan so is under heave scheduledation this morning of a suffering seizures yesterday. his family posted the information on the website they maintain forrest, who remains a medically induced comb much there's been a massive outpouring of support forrest. there are six mound racers today in the bay area and in southern california. as you so, so was beaten by stew men while heaving the opening day game between the san francisco giants and the dodgers in los angeles. up next at 35:30, actor nicolas cage is out of jail this morning after being arrested in the new orleans french quarter. we will tell you about the charges he faces. and four strangers are being honored for their heroic efforts that saved a young woman from a vicious knife attack in san francisco and sent her attacker back to?ññxñxñxñxñxñxñt
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can you enjoy vegetables with sauce and still reach your weight loss goals? you can with green giant frozen vegetables. over twenty delicious varieties have sixty calories or less per serving and are now weight watchers-endorsed. try green giant frozen vegetables with sauce. [ speaking spanish ] ♪ [ male announcer ] old el pas. old el paso. feed your fiesta. >> welcome back, everyone. this morning police are investigating a shooting that occurred in the parking lot of the san leano restaurant last night. victim was taken to the hospital where he is undergoing surgery for multiple gunshot wounds. police say the victim was eating
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dinner the restaurant and left to go to his car where he was attacked. it might have been an attempted robbery. when police arrived, they found the man in the parking lot outside chili's restaurant. they are still looking for a restaurant. state lawmakers are taking another shot at stopping gun owners from openly carrying unloaded weapons in public. last year's version of the bill passed the legislature but never made it to the governor's desk. there is a constitutional challenge to the ban. >> the controversy began when open carry advocates started gathering in public places like coffee shops and restaurants around california with their unloaded weapons exposed. while perfectly legal, the protest against gun control laws made some passersby uncomfortable. >> i think you are asking for trouble if you are walking around with an exposed weapon on your hip. >> the committee took the first ban of banning the practice of open carry in california for
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most people, making it a maryland punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. >> it's too close for comfort for average californians. you don't need a weapon to buy a cheeseburger. proliferation of a sidearm should be in a western movie, not in california. >> it prompted citizens to call police. the gathers they say already stretch their department. >> a gun in a public setting has to be viewed by a police officer as a threat. as such it takes our resources away to deal with the threat. >> but they say the ban is unconstitutional, pointing out the second amendment gives them the right to bear arms to protect themselves. >> it's critical during states of emergency that people have the ability to defend themselves when police are not available. >> she said she needs a gun to protect herself because attack rates on them are high. >> the proposal heads to the
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appropriations commit next. a similar proposal last year cleared several committees but failed to get to the governor's desk by the deadline. in sacramento, nannette, abc7 news. this weekend a young bay area marine is remembered who died two weeks ago in afghanistan. we report from golden gate national cemetery where yesterday lance cpl. harry lu was laid to rest. >> we can only imagine what it is to lose a son. >> he was a son, a friend and a brother to so many. >> he was a blood brother. i know him as one of our brothers. >> hundreds remembered the santa clara high school graduate who died while on watch duty april 3rd in afghanistan. his death is still under investigation. >> it's really sad to be here for this rain. >> lu enlisted a year after
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graduating from high school. he was deployed in december. he was supposed to return from afghanistan in july. >> it's my first time dealing with any kind of a death with someone i am close to. so it was really hard. i didn't know how to handle it because bother and i still feel he is going to come home. >> we talk about how we were going to go to vegas together with our group of friends. i still think he's coming. >> lu's friends and family see him everywhere and in everything. in these shirts and even in this balloon lawn inch his honor. >> one, two, three! but the smiles quickly faded once a 21-year-old arrived at his final resting site, the national cemetery. a long line of mourners, including a congressman and his
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aunt, judy chu, watched in silence because this meant good-bye. in san bruno, abc7 news. thousands participated in the annual pat tillman run at azubuike state university this weekend. pat's run honors fallen army veinger and nfl star pat tillman who grew up in san jose and played football for arizona state and the arizona cardinals. this week they announced the opening of the pat tillman veteran center to help military families. it camps as his mother is speaking out against the appointment of general stanley crystal to an advisor to military families. she said he's unfit for the appointment because he helped cover-up the real story of her son's death. >> mary tillman said president obama made a big mistake. >> i don't think it's the appropriate choice. >> and i think it's a slap in
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the face to all soldiers. >> tillman said general strain mccrystal is not the right person to co-chair the commission on military families. >> someone who has a heartfelt desire to help families would not have been involved in the coverup of a soldier's death. >> in 2002 mary's son, pat, left behind a career with the n to enlist as an army ranger, in april, 2004, corporate tillman was killed in afghanistan. general mccrystal, then the commander of special ops, learned he was killed by friendly fire, and despite that he was part of the propaganda effort pushing the false tale that tillman had been killed by the enemy. while at the same time he was telling higher-ups the truth, it had been friendly fire. >> and i would do this differently if i had the chance again. in retrospect they look
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contradictory. >> the general recommended disciplinary action against him but the army cleared him of wrongdoing. mary tillman said he let their family agonize on a national stage for years, never letting them find out the truth about his death. >> he deliberately covered up pat's death and he has never adequately apologized to us for doing that. >> experts on the tillman case agree with her. the author of "where men win glory, the odyssey of pat tillman" told the newsy think it's an outrage. mcchrystal continues to the role played in the cover role. and there's the tillman story. >> playing stanley mccrystal is like putting bernie madoff in charge of a commission on pensions. >> he was relieved of his
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command after the rolling zone stories after they were trash talking administration officials. but they are standing by him today saying he's the right person on this vie tal mission. actor cage is out of jail this morning. he's arrested on charges of disturbing the police and domestic police. he got into a violent argument with his wife. the two are living there while cage is filming his recent movie. the report said cage was drunk. he caused a problem at a french quarter restaurant last month but was not arrested. this time he paid an $11,000 pond pending a court appearance. a medical marijuana dispensary across the street from oakland police headquarters could be shut down, but not because of the location. >> the hearing was over before it began. >> i will recues myself from
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this matter. >> dmitri shelton reduced himself from hearing the matter because he once worked for the city attorney's office. this case pits the operator against the oakland dispense industry institute. the owner paid the current owners more than one million dollars but the city said she purposely avoided going through the process to get a permit. >> we are saying she knowingly and the individuals who sold her the transfer knowingly violated the municipal code. >> because of that? >> it should maker ineligible to have one of these very limited permits. >> there are only four permits for medical marijuana dispensaries in oakland. the city says any change of ownership has to be approved. but last year a superior court judge sided with frank and suggested, as her lawyer does, that oakland's rules are confusing. >> they have a permit system in oakland with a lot of unwritten
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rules. when somebody wants to transfer that permit, it's very hard to do because there are no wren rules. rules -- no written also rules. >> the hearing was ordered by the judge to determine if the permit should be approved. meanwhile it's on hold. hundreds of patients continue to go to the oakland can bus institute, which is surprisingly right across the street from the police department. the mayor has no problem with that location. >> i actually think it's okay because it eliminates the criminal activity that other cities have. and no date yet for another hearing. lisa is here with a preview of the accuweather forecast. >> well, things are going to get cooler. a little wetter around here. you know, the week ahead, not looking that warm. i'll tell you about it coming up. >> all right. also ahead, we will show you the effort to help build holmes for the needy in oakland this weekend. [ male announcer ] for 5 bucks, you can get a sub.
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>> hundreds of volunteers are are helping to build home for the needy. the affordable holmes will grow from the foundations to the roofs in just four days. the goal is to produce seven 3-bedroom holmes for low income families. lisa argen is back. we've missed her the past couple
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weeks. she has your accuweather forecast. >> i unfortunately bring some rain with us. and just a little rain here but if you have spring break, planning to go to the mountains, more rain there. some rain with the snow will mean snowmelts the next couple days. as we head outside we have more fog this morning. fog along the peninsula. slower clearing today. we look for a cooler afternoon. in fact, the rain arriving before the weekend is out. 54 in red wood city. good morning, napa, 52 san francisco. a slower burn off and the light rain arriving tonight. showers then for your monday afternoon and monday morning. here's the frontal band. it's been hung up to the north. by later on tonight a weak impulse will ride down and that will allow the front to sag southward. that will bring the rain.
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tonight light rain as far south as monterey and staying with us throughout the afternoon hours. we are talking about an inch of rain in the northern and central sierra later on tonight. back home not as much but certainly it will cool us back. we are cooler today than yesterday. 80 los angeles, 68 tahoe, 62 monterey with partly cloudy skies and 78 in fresno. here's the timeline. notice more clouds around today. by 8:00 tonight the chance of showers from sonoma county and even on the peninsula. overnight most of the scattered shower activity heads southward. by 9:00 tomorrow we still have rain. look at 2:00, 3:00 scattered showers and temperatures in the 60s instead of the 70s. high temperatures today coming down maybe 2 to 4 degrees. a little sun here and there. 69 campbell, peninsula look for 65. and 58 in pacific kau -- and 63 downtown. look for 64 south city and in the north bay notice more 60s
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around. we will see more clouds around, 68 this napa. berkeley with 635. in hayward and still holding on in 70s from danville and pleasanton. numbers all in the low to mid-60s along the coast and 73 gilroy. here's the accuweather 7-day forecast. maybe a tenth to quarter inch rainfall from tonight through tomorrow. then look for scattered showers to clear on out. so tuesday looks good. dwayne we can see some more rain. doesn't look like we will warm up until maybe next weekend. i say that because there's just the 70-degree toronto maple leafs there. it's not that warm so we are a little below average. >> below average, okay. thank you, lisa. a group of strangers that came together to save a life four years ago came together again to be honored and he will great the life of a young woman who survived a frightening ordeal.
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we have the story. >> you are going to hear from incredible deeds. >> among these being hon in ordered to a secretary, a lawyer, a financeer and a doctor. these are the good citizens who saved the life of lauren sheller on may 19, 2007. >> as i was backing away he kept slashing at me. >> she was 15 when she was attacked at the twin peaks bakery by a violent parole lee, mr. thomas. the lawyer was in the bakery. he went to lawen's aid but thomas began stabbing him. >> a stab in the chest up here, and then the one that punctured my lung over on the right-hand side. he left a knife in my ribs. >> financial analyst, jonah, saw him stumble outside with a knife still in him. >> he pulled the knife out.
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the assailant went for the knife. i kicked the knife away under a car. >> he chased him down the street and flagged down a cop, who made the arrest. sheller almost died when her jugular vein was severed. a doctor happened to be in the bakery. he saved her life by stemming the bleeding. >> i'm grateful that i had the opportunity to have made a difference in lauren's life. >> the school secretary, beth gray silver, helped chang while calling 911. this the stuff heros are made of. >> how life can change in just one second. you can go -- it can go from being so pleasant and so lovely to so horrific in a snap. >> on that day four years ago, good triumphed over evil. strangers came together to do the right thing. today, four years later, they are mr. like family to lawen and her parents. >> we had lots and lots of time with them to really get to know
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them as people. >> lawen is nowen jig life as a college student. >> life is good? >> ah-ha. very good. >> vic lee, abc7 news. still ahead a long-running perk for state lawmakers finally runs out of gas. and just how high are gas prices expected to go this summer? we will tell you what the experts predict. i love america, i love my pet baldagle brock,
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>> the already sky high gas prices could reach record price business memorial day. >> we've seen them go up a penny a day for the last week or so. all the stars are alined to see price goes up. >> the all-time high for san francisco is $4.62 and that was set back in june of 2008. it's currently $4.25 a gallon and going up daily. a trip from san francisco to seattle and back will cost you $500. that's $125 more than a year ago. the reason? well, the experts say u.s. stockpiles have dwindled by more than 31 million barrels in just the last 8 weeks. drained by high demand and low production. the free cars used by state lawmakers are soon going to be history. the state has just put the brakes on a perk that has been costing taxpayers millions every year.
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capital correspondent nannette miranda has the story from sacramento. a taxpayer provided car is one of the valued perks that lawmakers have. it comes with an unlimited gas card and free maintenance. but not for long. >> the state is broke. >> the california city compensation commission stripped them of that perk, and instead will give each legislator a $300 a month transportation allowance starting december 1st. the move saved the cash strapped state more than $2 million over five years. >> i think everybody has to share in the pain, and these are cuts which have to take place. >> car benefits have long angered taxpayers, especially during the tough budget time when the average tab per lawmaker is $7,500 a year. on top of that, the public pace for accidents, too. former state senator carroll migden's 2007 multi-vehicle crash, for instance, cost nearly $400,000 to settle. >> it's like the taxpayers are
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always there to clean up the mess from state government. and this is just one more example. >> but for those lawmakers who districts encompass several counties, a $300 a month allowance doesn't cut it. state senator nor reason evans says it takes about 8 hours one way to visit her farthest constituents along the oregon state line. >> if i didn't have a car provided by the state, i would have to visit my constituents less. there's no other way to get around. >> those who don't have the perk, say the perk seems excessive given the times. >> i found it very difficult to be up here and hearing about the sacrifices other people were making. >> some lawmakers tell me the cutbacks are starting to feel punitive. the commission already cut their pay 18% to $95,000 a year and their per diem to $142 a day. in sacramento, nannette miranda, abc7 news. >> still ahead, future engineers locked in a fierce competition
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this weekend. we will take you to the bay area's eighth annual robo games.
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>> competitors from across the country and overseas are climbing into cages and engaging in combat in san mateo this weekend. those contestants are robots. abc7's david louie shows us there's more to robo games than
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meets the eye. >> it looks like fun and games but the cost can run upwards of 2 grand to build a robot, not to purge an engine nearing team putting in hundreds of hours into design and practice. in this game, they won in their first-ever competition. gary was advising them along every step. he's competed every year at the robo games. >> they took the time to build it properly. we made sure we got the right parts. they took the time to learn how to drive. that's a big part of this game. >> veterans say a wedge design tends to be the most stable. but fans love the more daring designs. the teams are from as far away as brazil. each in search of bragging rights that their robot is the best. >> are you hungry for victory? >> yes. i don't see like any enthusiasm
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in your face. >> yeah. >> mom even flew in from anchorage to take in the competition. >> these are the next engineers of the world, right here. they will figure it out for us. >> to win they have to figure out to use aluminum, steal or titanium. even the batteries can make a difference in terms of weight and output. things the engineers will need to know in the future as they design cars, bridges, and, yes, even sophisticated robots. >> one can only wonder what the future holds given the changes in robotics and computers. what would a combat robot cost? wow. in san mateo, abc7 news. coming up next, a jet fuel leak at sfo has forced hundreds of passengers to evacuate a plane. and there was a shooting outside
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